walk up the rise toward the house, said idly, "There comes
Parsons; wonder what he wants." Parsons had come to
deliver a message. Mr. Sills had been trying to get the Ball
place on the telephone, he said, but the line was down.
Coming up, he had seen an old gum tree fallen across the
line down the pike a piece. It was so rotten it was ready to
come down if you looked hard at it, anyway. But Mr. Sills
thought Doctor MacDonald ought to know that a gang of
men had taken out a Mr. Elkins over near Bardsville the
night before and whipped him with a whip. The men had
beat on the door and told Mr. Elkins to come out or they
would put dynamite under the house, and he had come on
out because he was afraid for his wife and family. They
whipped him, then they got the wife and children out and
dynamited the house, anyway. They just hurt one wing of
the house, though, Mr. Parsons said. Nobody knew exactly
why they did it.
"It don't matter why," Doctor MacDonald interrupted,
and rose from his chair and strode to the hearth.
" One of them said it was because Mr. Elkins didn't fire
his nigger tenants," Mr. Parsons said, " and then again some
of them said it was because he wasn't in the Association.
But they was all drinking hard, it looks like, saying one thing
" It don't matter why," Doctor MacDonald declared. His
long face was pale with the fury that was growing in him.
" It just matters who. By God, if I just knew who!"
"Mr. Elkins was an anti-Association man," Mr. Parsons
observed, as though in placation.
Doctor MacDonald wheeled at him. "I don't care if he
was president of the Alta Company; I don't care if he's ami
or not. They did it without authority. If they're Association
people did it, they did it without authority. If they're not
Association-----" He paused, his hands clenching and un-
clenching about the pipe he held.
"They're not Association," Professor Ball said; "they're
not our people."